Relegation struggles in the Frauen-Bundesliga: Potsdam at crossroads; Meppen must beat Duisburg to escape relegation.

Unnati Naidu
Journalist and Photographer
April 19, 2023
4 min
The FLYERALARM Frauen-Bundesliga title battle is tight between Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg, but the bottom of the table is worth watching. While the struggle to escape relegation between Meppen and Duisburg is still ongoing, the current standings suggest that Potsdam may have already lost the battle and will be relegated at the end of the season.

Turbine Potsdam's downfall

Turbine Potsdam, one of the few autonomous women's football clubs in Germany, was previously one of the finest teams in the league, with prominent players like Ada Hegerberg, Lia Walti, Tabea Kemme, Svenja Huth, and others playing for the club. The team has had a rough season, earning only one point in the first half of the season in a tie against SV Werder Bremen. Potsdam presently sits bottom in the league rankings with 8 points after winning their past two games. 

Potsdam, Germany. March 26th 2023: The team celebrates a 3-1 victory over The SV Meppen team during the game Frauen-Bundesliga - 1.FFC Turbine Potsdam v SV Meppen - Karl-Liebknecht-Stadion. Potsdam, Germany. (Ryan Sleiman /SPP) IMAGO

But how did Potsdam reach this situation?

The club began the season with a new head coach, Sebastian Middeke, who was fired at the end of October. Sven Weigang is his replacement, albeit the club did not bring him in as a long-term option. The absence of professional infrastructure and sports achievement has rendered the club unappealing to potential new signings and sponsors. Players had to take on responsibilities that would normally be handled by Potsdam's administration.

The obstacles that Potsdam's working management had to meet were too much for them. The overload became notably obvious at the end of the 2012/22 season when more than ten players left the club. As a result, they are fielding an almost entirely new and rarely used starting eleven. In the previous campaign, forwards Selina Cerci and Melissa Kossler combined for 23 league goals as Turbine finished fourth, but both left the club in the summer for Koln and Hoffenheim, respectively. Furthermore, they lost their team's captain Naomi Gentile to an ACL injury. 

The management did not respond to players' requests and recommendations on how to improve the club's predicament. The squad and the club's infrastructure have been impoverished for a long time. Several sponsors have abandoned their support, and finding new ones is difficult. This is also because the club's management is acting on an honour system. Competencies are frequently unclear, resulting in chaotic and delayed internal working procedures.

The club has picked up the pace by winning the last two games, a victory against Freiburg, who they lost to 5-0 at home in October and a 3-1 win against Meppen. However, it might be a bit too late to avoid relegation, as the club is set to play the upcoming fixtures against Hoffenheim, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern Munich in May. 

Only a miracle could save Turbine Potsdam from relegation.

Meppen vs Duisburg: The deciding game in the battle of relegation?

03.04.2022, Waldstadion, Meppen, GER, 2. Frauen-Bundesliga: SV Meppen vs MSV Duisburg, Sarah Schulte. IMAGO/Werner Scholz

SV Meppen and MSV Duisburg both have 13 points in the league table, but Meppen is ahead of Duisburg owing to the goal difference. Both clubs have lost their last four games and have a few intriguing games coming up. However, Meppen and Duisburg will meet in what might be the deciding match to determine which of the two teams is demoted.

While Meppen is still in danger of relegation, Duisburg is at a significant disadvantage here. Duisburg just sacked coach Niko Schneck, and new coach Thomas Gerstner will need time to reassemble the club. Duisburg has also failed to score, and the game would be played at Meppen's home stadium. While Meppen has struggled at times this season under new coach Carin Bakhuis, the team is aiming for a win against Duisburg to keep their top-flight hopes alive.

A win for either club keeps them from being relegated, but if they draw, Meppen could just make it due to their better goal difference.

SV Meppen and MSV Duisburg will play each other at the Hänsch-Arena on the 7th of May. 

A Competitive Season of Frauen-Bundesliga

The 2022/23 FLYERALARM Frauen-Bundesliga season was one of the most thrilling and competitive seasons in the league's history. The battle for third place between Eintracht Frankfurt and TSG Hoffenheim to qualify for the UWCL next season is still very much alive. RB Leipzig is likely to compete in the first division next season, presently topping the second division with 52 points, 15 points clear of second-placed Nurnberg. After several nightmare games, FC Koln Frauen has managed to turn their season around. Meanwhile, SGS Essen has managed to survive their season, but given the ever-changing development in women's football, the team's future seasons will be challenging. 

Jule Brand (29 VfL Wolfsburg) and Sarah Zadrazil (25 FC Bayern Munich) during the DFB Pokal semifinal match between FC Bayern Munich and VfL Wolfsburg at FC Bayern Campus, Germany. (Sven Beyrich/SPP) IMAGO

The relegation fight, like the race for the league title, is still very much open, but one thing is certain: this season has been one of the most thrilling. While there are still several issues that plague the Frauen-Bundesliga, one of which is professionalization, the league is undeniably on the rise.


FLYERALARM Frauen-Bundesliga games are available live and on-demand on ata football.

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